Pros and Cons of Online Courses in...

Pros and Cons of Online Courses in Post-Secondary Education

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

During the pandemic, students were unable to go to in-person classes for weeks or months at a time because of the risk of infection. In post-secondary studies, students often choose to study online. This type of study is not right for everyone, but it can be a good choice for people who can deal with both the pros and cons of this type of learning.

One of the main points in favour of online learning is flexibility. Regular courses require students to be at the school or university at a particular time each week. While this requirement might work for some people, it can also be a problem for people with busy schedules or responsibilities, including looking after family members or working at a job. Although some online courses might require students to log onto group discussions or lectures at specific times, students have much more flexibility than with in-person courses.

Travelling to and from a class can also take time. People need to drive or take the bus to the university or college and then back home after class, besides the time for the actual course and assignments. In winter, bad weather can make it very difficult to get to class. However, going to an online course involves only moving to the computer from elsewhere in the house, allowing students to save money and time on transportation.

With the flexibility and time saving of online learning, people can more easily fit their studies into their lives and are thus more likely to continue with their courses instead of dropping out. Some instructors might require students to join group discussions or listen to lectures at certain times, but normally students can choose their own study schedules. That way, they can fit in doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, cooking, or other tasks. People with busy lives and many responsibilities could benefit from online courses.

Despite the advantages of online learning, this type of course is not always a good choice. For certain classes, online learning might be difficult or impossible. For example, a chemistry course might be impossible to do entirely online because of the need to conduct experiments with potentially dangerous chemicals. Language courses can also be difficult to complete online, depending on how much opportunity for conversation the course gives.

One of the most challenging aspects of online learning is getting the work done. With in-person classes, instructors can remind students to complete their assignments, students can form study groups, and people can keep each other on schedule. Although the same help can be available with online courses, the connections can be more difficult to make over the computer. Without this kind of help, students can have trouble with completing their work.

For people who are self-disciplined, online learning can be a good choice. However, living conditions can also make a difference. People who live alone are likely to have quiet homes with fewer interruptions than people who live with family or roommates. Even then, these people still need to cook, clean, and earn a living. They might also find it difficult to keep to a schedule and get the work done.

Online learning can be a good choice for post-secondary students. If you have the right home conditions and are self-disciplined, you might want to consider include online courses in your post-secondary education.



BC Campus. “Pros and Cons of Online Learning.” https://opentextbc.ca/studentsuccess/chapter/pros-and-cons-of-online-learning/.

eLearning Industry. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning.” https://elearningindustry.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-online-learning

MIT Open Learning. “The Pros and Cons of Online Learning.” https://openlearning.mit.edu/news/pros-and-cons-online-learning.

Western Governors University. Distance Learning vs. Traditional Learning: Pros and Cons. https://www.wgu.edu/blog/distance-learning-traditional-learning-pros-cons2210.html

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